Winds, lightning cause damage as severe thunderstorms hit Central NC

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) - Several Severe Thunderstorm Warnings were issued for many areas of the North Carolina sandhills on Monday afternoon and early evening.

The last warnings were for parts of Cumberland and Sampson counties and expired 6:45 p.m. A warning for another part of Sampson County was in effect until 7 p.m.

Several trees were down along a 150-foot section of road on Olive Branch Road near Kipling Road in Fuquay-Varina, Harnett County officials said.

A tree was also down across the 1800 block of Stanton Hill Road in Cameron, Moore County officials said.

Meanwhile, quarter-sized hail was reported outside a Family Dollar store in Lillington, according to the National Weather Service.

East of Hobbton in Sampson County, a home improvement store was hit by lightning, causing extensive electrical damage. The lightning traveled through the phone line and destroyed a TV and microwave oven, the weather service said.

Lightning also damaged a Johnston County home about 2 miles south-southeast of Benson.

Earlier, parts of Cumberland, Harnett, Johnston and Sampson counties were under a severe thunderstorm warning.

RELATED: Click here for Interactive Radar

Another severe thunderstorm warning was also issued for Lee, Moore and Hoke counties and was set to expire at 6:15 p.m.

Around 5 p.m. a severe thunderstorm was located near Dunn, or 12 miles east of Lillington, moving south at 15 mph.

The National Weather Service said the storm could bring 60 mph wind gusts and quarter size hail. 

Some hefty storms rolled through the Triangle Sunday night, even producing a few instances of tree damage in Orange and Durham counties. That rain has moved off to the east, and we'll remain in a break from the rain through midday, before more storms develop and move in from the northwest this afternoon.

T emper atures will warm up quickly with the June sunshine breaking through the clouds -- we'll hit the upper 80s and low 90s before the storms roll back in (notice the rain-cooled air north of the Triangle already by mid-afternoon):

The RPM model's radar simulation shows storms developing both north AND south of the Triangle by early afternoon... ...moving into the Triangle by late afternoon... ...with the strongest storms hitting the southern Coastal Plain by early evening: Keep in mind, that's one version of one forecast model -- factoring in some other data, here's what our hour-by-hour storm chances look like from midday through this evening: Because the atmosphere will have time to warm up so much before the storms arrive, there will be a lot of instability to fuel some stronger storms...but not very much wind energy to organize the storms. The Storm Prediction Center has included ALL of central North Carolina in a "Marginal Risk" (level 1 of 5) for severe thunderstorms: That means we expect numerous storms, a few of which could prompt severe thunderstorm warnings. The primary risk from the strongest storms will be damaging straight-line winds, and we'll also be on the lookout for some localized flooding:

The cold front that sparks today's storms will stall out just to our south tomorrow -- still close enough to keep us in a chance of scattered showers, but we'll be on the cooler side for one day:

The heat and humidity will be back in full force Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, before another weak cold front brings us a better storm chance again late in the day Friday:

I can't say that the weekend will be "comfortable," but our rain chances should be limited and the humidity should be a bit lower both Saturday and Sunday. Don't get too used to that pattern, though -- the Climate Prediction Center's 8-14 day outlook shows a good chance of another heat wave settling in next week:

The interwebs weren't in a giving mood when it comes to nerdy science news over the weekend -- the nerd-links will be back tomorrow!

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